Japanese Emperor Akihito has planned to deliver a televised speech in August on his desire to abdicate in favour of his son Naruhito, officials said on Friday.
Officials from the Imperial Household Agency said that Akihito, 82, intends to pass on the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son, 56, “in the coming years” because he feels increasingly tired, state broadcaster NHK reported.
The speech is planned to take place around August 8 after an extraordinary session of the Japanese Parliament, and a cabinet reshuffle scheduled for August 3.
The Emperor is anticipated to deliver a speech aired live for about 10 minutes.
Since the current Constitution does not include provisions for living succession, the Emperor would avoid speaking of his abdication directly and announce his intention to the Japanese public using other words.
The monarch has only appeared on television to address the nation once, that was on March 16, 2011, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeast and triggered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986, EFE news reported.
On that occasion, Akihito’s speech, calling it the worst tragedy to hit Japan since the Second World War was recorded before transmission.
The Japanese Emperor’s health has deteriorated as he underwent a coronary bypass operation in 2012 and also suffered from prostate cancer in 2003 after receiving hormonal therapy to treat osteoporosis.
The current Succession Act in Japan does not include the assumption of abdication, so a review to specify that the position goes to Naruhito after the resignation of his father would be necessary.